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Easy Deli Tuna Salad

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Light and simple, Easy Deli Tuna Salad is a simple 3-ingredient, dairy free recipe that tastes just like the one served in many Jewish New York Delis !

Eat Easy Deli Tuna Salad alone on a plate, in a sandwich, or with a leafy salad. It is quick and inexpensive to make, so save your lunch money for something else!

Like deli salads? Try these:

A little of my cooking background

I really wanted to title this blog “If I can make it, anyone can”, because – honestly – if I can make it, anyone can.

I never really liked cooking and when I was single, a meal for me meant grilled cheese, eggs, tuna, or something else that didn’t require effort or time.

When my kids were young, I was still able to get away with preparing only a small variety of easy meals, but the older they got, the more dishes I learned to make at their request.

Still, I insisted on keeping it simple.

Honestly, I never understood why some cooks unnecessarily complicate meals. I have seen recipes that have several ingredients that don’t really seem to add much, if anything, to the dish. So, why bother?

It has always been important to me that whoever eats at my table will have plenty to enjoy and that includes my kids (I never agreed with the “You will eat what is served or you won’t eat” ideology) and, because I keep it simple, I can prepare a variety of dishes in a relatively short period of time.

I have a philosophy regarding being a great cook: Prepare food according to the tastes of those who will be eating it and they will love your cooking!

As far as I am concerned, start with the basic ingredients that make the dish what it is, adapt according to taste, and voila! you are an amazing cook!

The bottom line is that while there are certainly delicate recipes out there for specialty dishes, making delicious meals doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. It’s not difficult to impress – just make sure it tastes good.

While some of the recipes on my blog are more time-consuming than others, they are all tried and true easy-shmeezy!

Of course, one always has to consider the conditions under which they cook. Weather (humidity, heat, cold), different types of ovens, different quality of pots, etc. – all of which can affect your cooking and baking.

Nevertheless, as I said, if I can do it, anyone can!

Easy Deli Tuna Salad revealed!

My kids always liked the simple tuna salad that was sold in the New York bagel shops and delis. It was expensive though, and I had no idea how to make it. One day, deciding I had nothing to lose, I contacted one of the shops (the one that catered the plain variety to my sons’ school) and asked.

“It’s tuna and mayo,” the guy told me.

“No really. What else?”

“That’s it. Tuna and mayo.”

That’s how I made mine. Tuna and mayo. Maybe he used a different mayo than I did (Best Foods/Hellman’s)? I was at a loss and gave up.

One day, my youngest son (who was 15 at the time) decided he wanted a tuna sandwich like he got at the bagel store and that was that. Instead of coming to me to ask, he went to my daughter, Elissa (our family foodie).

Together, they figured out how to make it perfectly. Then they even added those little pieces of diced celery!

Mystery solved!

The difference, it turned out, was that while I used the same ingredients, I left the tuna in small chucks, while the tuna that is made in the stores is mashed very, very small (maybe even put in a blender). Oh, and I used less mayo too.

Tuna on a bagel immediately became my son’s favorite meal and at first he literally made it every…single…day. Figuring it was easier to make a large batch to last several days, he began doing this. We even bought him those Costco-sized cans of tuna.

After a short while, he noticed that the quantities he was preparing were being suspiciously depleted by a lot more than he was using and the tuna was not lasting nearly as long as it should have. Someone was eating his tuna, so he went on a mission to find the culprit.

When the search was over, he announced (with quite a bit of pride, I might add) that the culprit was… everyone!

Considering my lack of patience with cooking and, often, my lack of time, I love simple recipes like this one. It is quick and easy-to-make. It is great for kids and adults alike. It takes little effort and everyone loves it.

It can be eaten as a snack, as a side, or in a sandwich. It’s great on rye bread, white bread, in a roll, in a pita, in a bagel…you name it.


While I like to keep it basic and simple, there are several additional diced vegetables that can be added to theEasy Deli Tuna Salad.

These include onions (red or yellow), pickles, relish, peppers (any), eggs,….

Some people spice up their tuna salad with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, etc. or add lemon juice, mustard, or minced garlic for flavoring. All to taste.

And tuna has health benefits as well! So, enjoy!

Yield: 2 servings

Easy Deli Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad on a sesame bagel on a white plate

Simple, no frills, New York Deli style tuna salad.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 10 ounces (2 5-ounce cans) tuna in water, drained well
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (for less calories, use less mayonnaise or low fat)
  • 1 medium celery stick, diced small


    1. Put tuna in blender or food processor or mash very well with a fork.
    2. Place in a bowl, combine well with mayonnaise and celery.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 377Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 34gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

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